Dance Limerick announce the screening of hybrid film ‘Weathering’

Dancer Justine Cooper during the film. Photo by Raja Nundlall

The feature-length film showcases a rich Irish history

By James Hanly

As Munster’s arts and culture scene continues to grow, Limerick Voice reporter James Hanly spoke to Director Mary Wycherley who will showcase her work to the Limerick public at 7:30pm on Thursday March 30 in John’s Square. 

This feature length film tells the story of the Gearagh in County Cork, an 11,000-year-old glacial woodland and the last surviving full oak forest in Western Europe. This was until it was felled in the 1950’s to build two hydroelectric dams for the nearby city. 

In ‘Weathering’, this sacrificed landscape of forests acts as a bridge to Ireland’s prehistoric past and asks the viewers to think about how these ancient places link us to the natural world. 

Filming of dancer Justine Cooper. Photo by Raja Nundlall

This story is brought to life by the dancers Justine Cooper and Aoife McAtamney with costumes designed by Triona Willis. Raja Nundlall oversaw cinematography for the production. 

Ms Wycherley is a Cork native, understanding the poignant landscape that was the Gearagh and feels that it’s important to celebrate the regrowth and revival of the region today. 

Speaking about the industrialisation of rural Ireland, Wycherley said: “Of course, electricity is progress, we need it more than ever but why I looked at a place like the Gearagh is that it is a great example of reflecting on what we need to do differently in the future. How can we ensure that it’s not at the expense of the biodiversity of the wildlife.” 

The film will also be presented with live sound and voice performances to form this hybrid style of storytelling.  

‘Weathering’ is being showed on multiple screens and Jools Gilson will present poetry. Composer Jurgen Simpson, singer Ceara Conway and musicians on cello and percussion will also perform music. 

The film will screen in the unique location of St John’s Church. The director feels that it’s important to bring her story to Limerick because of the fantastic legacy of dance in the region. 

This hybrid film has become another one of the hallmark pieces of Wycherley’s interdisciplinary style of production. 

“When a choreographer works with performers, there’s a real crafting of movement in space but also in time,” she said. 

Mary Wycherley. Photo by Maurice Gunning

“Often dance isn’t trying to convey a story, in the traditional narrative. Dance is a communication without verbal language. It conveys something through body language and the physical which is different. That’s what is special about dance, it goes straight to the heart of things.” 

Mary Wycherley, now based in Tipperary, is founder and artistic director of Light Moves Festival and Studio Light Moves. Some of her recent work includes the award winning ‘WRoNGHEADED’ and ‘In the Bells Shadow.’ 

‘Weathering’ is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and Limerick City and County Council with support from Dance Limerick, Project Arts Centre and Tanzrauschen Festival, Wuppertal. 

The event brings film, dance, music, and poetry together. If one of those elements will make you want to come; the story and atmosphere will make you want to stay. 

“There are often these divisions in artforms, I think bringing different disciplines into a room together can make people say ‘Oh!’. It’s trying to erase boundaries and let people surprise themselves,” she added. 

Weathering premiers on the March 30 at St. Johns Church. Tickets are on sale for €15 with concessions at €12, they are available to buy on the Dance Limerick website. 

More stories from our 2023 print edition

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